Rights group concerned over Ukraine kidnappings

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PARIS (AP) — Reporters Without Borders has expressed concern over the fate of two Ukrainian journalists who it says were kidnapped Sunday on the isthmus that connects Crimea to mainland Ukraine.

The media rights group has identified them as Olena Maksymenko of Ukrainian weekly Ukrainsky Tizhden and freelance photographer Oles Kromplyas.

It says Maksymenko disappeared with two activists in the Auto-Maidan movement, which supports the new government in Kiev, after they were stopped at a checkpoint in Perekop.

Reporters says Kromplyas was taken into custody by pro-Russian forces shortly afterward at the same checkpoint.

Christophe Deloire, the secretary general of Reporters Without Borders, expressed concern Monday over a "steady escalation in violations of journalists' rights in Crimea, which is turning into a lawless region controlled by armed bands whose anonymity reinforces the impunity."

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